New Mazda3 on sale in NZ tomorrow

April 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda3 launch 005

The current model Mazda3 has proved itself as a popular and useful vehicle on Kiwi roads, but from tomorrow (May 1st) the second generation Mazda3 goes on sale.

Following its first full redesign in five years the new Mazda3 offers enhanced safety new performance features and environmental technologies to enhance the Zoom-Zoom driving experience.

Andrew Clearwater, managing director Mazda New Zealand, said the Mazda design team have done a fantastic job in striking a balance between safety and the fun-to-drive personality ingrained in Mazda vehicles. “Passenger safety is very important to us and we are proud to be able to offer a car designed with safety in mind which doesn’t compromise on style or performance.  The new Mazda3 is the complete package with dynamic styling, performance, fuel economy and safety and we expect it to be well received by New Zealand motorists,” said Clearwater.

The car features Dynamic Stability Control and Traction Control systems as well as front, side and newly developed curtain SRS airbags standard across all models. Further safety eqipment includes Antilock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and an intrusion-minimising brake and clutch pedal (on manual models).

“The all new Mazda3 once again raises the bar in this segment and sets the benchmark for the market by delivering a vehicle that has outstanding looks, is great to drive and is packed with safety and comfort features,” concluded Clearwater.

There is an improved 2.0L engine delivering 108kW and 182Nm which has a frugal 7.9L/100km and 187g/km of CO2 when combined with the six-speed manual transmission.  The sportier SP25 models are equipped with a 2.5L powerplant delivering 122kW of power and 227Nm of torque.

The launch of the new generation Mazda3 follows the release of the highly-acclaimed 2nd generation Mazda2 and Mazda6.  The previous Mazda3 sold more than 2 million vehicles in over 100 countries since its launch in 2003 and won more than 90 global motoring awards including a number of New Zealand awards.

Available in sedan and 5-door hatch bodystyles with a choice of four specification levels, two transmissions and eight colours, the new generation Mazda3 is on sale from May 1st.  Every new Mazda3 will come with mazdacare genuine servicing for the first three years or 100,000kms (whichever occurs first).

Pricing is from $30,895 for the base 2.0L GLX Hatch with 6-Speed Manual up to $44,285 for the top spec 2.5L SP25 Limited Hatch.

For more information on the new generation Mazda3 visit

Zenvo ST1 Danish supercar (+video)

April 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Zenvo ST1 fq

Does a Danish supercar sound crazy? Well, not really when boutique supercar companies are popping up everywhere. However, Danish company Zenvo Automotive has just brought its project vehicle the ST1 to fruition. With a mid-mounted turbocharged and supercharged 7.0-litre V8 engine, the ST1 puts out an incredible 1,104 horsepower and funnels it through a six-speed manual gearbox. So it demands attention.

The project was first started back in 2004, now the inital cars are being prepared for delivery. The ST1 will reach 100 kph in a traction-limited 3.0 seconds with a top speed reported to be around 375 kph.

The Zenvo ST1 certainly looks unique, with a very geometric appearance, including boomerang-shaped vents adorning the grille, hood and sides. Nothing quite like it is currently rolling on the roads and with decent interior luxuries it’s ready to prove itself as more than just another track car for the road.

Check out the video of the ST1 in testing below.

Mini to lauch special edition F1 Cooper S

April 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Mini Cooper F1 edition

According to internet reports, BMW’s Mini brand plans to launch a new Special Edition Cooper to coincide with the first Formula 1 racing car ever created by legendary British racer and company namesake John Cooper. To stand out from the rest of the already well-stocked Mini range, the Special Edition F1 Cooper will be painted up in a new non-metallic British Racing Green, which will be set off by black hood stripes plus a contrasting white roof and mirror caps. The factory JCW aerokit will also be fitted along with a host of F1 badging.

Underneath the car’s pretty exterior will be the stock powertrain from the MINI Cooper S JCW, including the 1.6-litre turbocharged and intercooled four-cylinder engine with 208 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. The new edition should make its first appearance at the Mini United event on May 22nd in Silverstone, England.

Most desirable BMW ever – have your say

April 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

most desirable bmw

It’s question time over on the AA website and the question is “What is the Most Desirable BMW Ever?”

BMW or the Bavarian Motor Works has been around for almost 100 years now and still evokes passionate fans for its brand of Ultimate Driving Machines. But what model do you covet most?

Tell the AA your favourite BMW ever and go in the draw to win a place on a BMW Driver Training day, valued at more than $600, plus runner up prizes of BMW Sauber F1 Team T-shirts and BMW Caps. The more you play the more chances you have to win a day at the race track behind the wheel of a BMW, under the tuition of BMW’s professional Driver Trainers.

There are 32 BMWs in total to choose from, so there’s something for all tastes.

Morgan pulls covers off new Aero SuperSports

April 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Morgan Aeromax SuperSports fq

At last weekend’s Villa d’Este show in Lake Como, Italy, British favourite Morgan previewed its new Aero SuperSports, its latest aluminum-chassis’d roadster.

Like some of its more recent offerings, the limited-edition roadster will once again make use of BMW power, in this case, BMW’s 4.8-litre V8 paired with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission (Morgan is staying mum about power figures at this time).

Its buxom bodywork features a two-panel detachable roof arrangement, giving both the feel of a hardtop coupe or a convertible (the panels fit in the boot), and the interior is loaded with the expected quantities of hand-stitched leather and polished timber.

Scheduled for production in 2010, the Super Sports is “anticipated to cost around £127,000 including VAT” (around $333k NZD), although you’ll want to queue quickly with a £25,000 cheque in hand as a deposit for this centennial special. Read below for the full press release.

April 2009
For immediate release

Morgan Aero SuperSports

Throughout 2009 the Morgan Motor Company is celebrating one hundred years of continuous manufacture of motorcars. The company has remained in one family’s ownership since the founder HFS Morgan made his first car in 1909.

As part of the Centenary celebrations Morgan announces a truly special model.

Designed and engineered in house, the Morgan Aero SuperSports is a lightweight aluminium sports car with a luxurious specification. The interior features a comfortable combination of polished hardwoods, hand stitched leather and electronic technology to create a driving environment that is efficient, ergonomic and sumptuous. In spite of all this opulence the overall weight of the car is still minimal so the car is responsive to driver inputs and economical to run. The unique way Morgan can achieve this is down to our use of aircraft style superformed aluminium outer panels and the skills of our craftsmen to hand finish the assembly of each car.

This technology debuted in the 100 AeroMax coupes built by the factory in 2008 and 2009.

Such was demand for this model, that Morgan have taken the decision to produce the Morgan Aero SuperSports. A limited edition, the car makes use of two aluminium detachable roof panels. These can either turn the car effectively in to a coupe or when detached bring fresh air and the aromas of the seasons to the driving experience without undue wind disturbance to spoil the journey. The panels can be stored conveniently in the boot.

The car of course benefits from the lightweight aluminium Aero chassis which is adhesively bonded for class leading rigidity. Exceeding global crash protection standards, this is also the platform used by the Morgan Aero Eight GT3 currently competing successfully in the 2009 International FIA GT3 Championship. This chassis combined with the aluminium 4.8 litre BMW V8 engine and a choice of 6 speed automatic or manual gearboxes offers an unrivalled driving experience. No other automatic car offers such dynamic power transmission.

Drawn by Matthew Humphries, and engineered for production by the experienced “Morgan Design” team, the new Aero Super Sports is due to enter production in early 2010. A deposit of £25,000 is required to ensure the supply of one of these exciting new models. It is anticipated to cost around £127,000 including VAT.
Charles Morgan, Grandson of the founder said ” The Morgan Aero SuperSports is a luxurious flamboyant sports car which also remains true to Morgan’s philosophy of lightweight minimalist simplicity. It is a celebration of our love of cars and the romance of travel and is a fitting model to announce during Morgan’s Centenary year.”

Honda record first significant loss in 15 years

April 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Honda first loss

An operating loss of ¥283.0 billion ($5.25 billion NZD) for the period ending March 31 represents Honda’s first quarterly loss in 15 years. The automaker also reported total global sales to distributors and dealers were down 680,000 units, or more than 35 percent. In North America alone, volume has slid from 459,000 units last year, to just 219,000 units this year. For the period, Honda has reported operating losses in all its major markets.

As ugly as the news is, Honda is still faring better than many of its competitors. Chrysler LLC and General Motors are simply trying to survive. While Japanese rival Toyota is expected to announce its first loss later this month. Honda’s Executive Vice President Koichi Kondo, is reportedly staying confidently optimistic. The company will focus on fuel efficient vehicles, leverage its manufacturing muscle, and engage in aggressive cost cutting to try and keep the company profitable, even as sales are predicted to continue their decline.

Police cars to save Holden?

April 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Holden Commodore Police

Naturally, the death of the Pontiac brand in America has put the skids on global sales plans at Holden (click here for news item). The popular Pontiac G8 is essentially a lightly reworked version of the Holden’s own Commodore sedan. Now, according to an Aussie website car website, a new player may be preparing to make up for the sales short – a consortium led by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Currently, Ford in America sells about 60,000 Crown Vic police cars each year for fleet use, with the majority of those going to various units around the United States, but production of the ancient rear-drive Ford isn’t likely to continue past next year, and it’s thought that Dodge’s Charger probably won’t cover the fresh demand, so alternatives will be needed. With that in mind, Melbourne-based company the National Safety Agency has created a new prototype patrol vehicle based on the Pontiac G8/Commodore that could be rebadged as a Chevrolet and sold to law enforcement units in the United States and possibly other foreign markets.

There’s even rumour that the new model could be made available for American retail sale at Chevrolet dealerships. Holden has naturally expressed interest in the project, though it’s taking a cautious approach given the current state of the American automobile industry.

BMW Z2 concept to debut at Frankfurt show

April 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

BMW Z2 concept

Recently the internet rumormill has been in overdrive with speculation that BMW would introduce a new Z2 concept vehicle at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Some sources are now confirming those reports, though the production version isn’t likely to reach market until 2013. Built atop BMW’s next-generation 1 Series platform, which will be prepared to allow for front, rear or all-wheel drive, the Z2 is likely to feature all of the German automaker’s latest fuel-saving Efficient Dynamics tech, including a potential plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Powering the eco-friendly model will be both gas and diesel engines with 2.0-litres or less displacement. The Z2 sounds like an intriguing machine and may even get a sequential transmission borrowed from BMW’s line of high-end motorcycles. Weight will be minimal thanks to good use of composite materials, and adjustable aerodynamics should offer high downforce when tackling the bends and minimal drag when cruising on the motorway.

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